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this year, getting off to a galloping and virulent start this is a live picture of lehigh valley hospital in pennsylvania where they have a tent set out back to treat the overflow of patients. for health care professionals it means more patients showing up in hospitals than they can treat in some cases and remember, that's among those so sick with the flu, they require hospitalization. the flu is now widespread in 41 of our 50 states. it is all where we begin tonight with our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. nancy, good evening. >> good evening, brian. this is the worst flu season we've seen in more than a decade. it has the cdc concerned and tonight, cities across the country and their hospitals are feeling the strain, and we haven't even reached the 50 yard line of flu season. emergency departments have become ground zero in the fight against the flu. at new york st. barnabus hospital the hallways are packed with patients. what's the status today? >> right now compared to last
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year at this time we've seen three times as many flu patients as we've seen all of last year. >> reporter: more than 50 cases a day of flu-like symptoms. is it fair to say you are overwhelmed? >> i'd say yes we're at overflow right now, we definitely are, we're very busy. >> reporter: patients like lawrence johansson. >> yesterday morning, fever, feeling terrible. >> reporter: you look like you feel lousy. >> i do. >> reporter: at brigham and women's hospital, 50 more already this year than all of last year. veteran e.r. doctor, dr. charles pazner. >> patients feel like they're run over by a bus, body aches, joint aches, feverish, oftentimes have sweats. >> reporter: in chicago hospitals are so overwhelmed with patients seven have closed their emergency departments diverting ambulances to other facilities. at a hospital in allentown, pennsylvania, they're dealing with the onslaught of patients
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by triaging them in a tent in the parking lot. this influenza virus is tenacious. dropless can be anywhere. how can you avoid the flu? there are some simple precautions. wash your hands frequently, 15 to 30 seconds at a time, keep your hands away from your eyes and nose. you touch your face more than 2,000 times a day and that's the easiest place for the virus to latch on. >> so far i don't think it's peaked yet. it's still rising. >> reporter: if you think you're at risk, the answer might be a click away. on flunearyou.org 20,000 volunteers are compiling reports so you can check how severe the outbreak is in your zip code, there's a facebook that checks status words for cough and sneeze. cdc has an app that tracks data state by state. if you think you have the flu, call your primary doctor immediately. don't go immediately to the
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emergency room. the hallmark remains prevention and for almost everyone out there, that's a flu shot. we undervalue prevention in this country, brian. i think we have to drive home the fact this is a virus that can put you in the icu within 48 hours. this is not a season to fiddle around with. >> the flu shot is a good one this year. >> it's good, a perfect match and available. >> dr. nancy snyderman starting us off tonight thanks as always. our climate is in the news tonight as well, the big insurance giant, the company called munich re says a natural disasters caused $160 billion around the world in 2012. sandy, of course, was a big part of that in the east and it's still costing. in the midwest, it was the drought. the new numbers coincide with the official numbers with a look at just how hot our past year was and our report tonight on this from our chief environmental correspondent,
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anne thompson. >> reporter: raging infernos, surging seas, howling winds. 2012 was extreme weather, hotter than any year on record. the results, federal scientists say of nature and manmade climate change. >> the 2012 temperatures are part of a long-term warming trend and that is associated with climate change. it is hard to pinpoint what percentage climate change has of a role in the 2012 temperatures. it did have a role. >> reporter: under normal conditions we should see one record high for every record low but in the first decade of the century we saw two record highs for each record low. in 2011, it was three-to-one and last year, five record highs for each low. in 2012, much of the country sweltered. >> one out of every three americans had at least ten days where they had to deal with temperatures at or above 100 degrees. that's a lot of heat. >> reporter: all that heat plus a lack of rain and snowfall created a historic drought that still grips over half the country today, making the mississippi river less than
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mighty, so shallow in places barge traffic could come to a halt. >> i think that we're looking at some very risky situations for the middle of the country for the coming year, the persistence of the drought so far is a real concern. >> reporter: extreme weather caused extreme hardship, 11 disasters topping $1 billion in losses, 125 people killed in superstorm sandy alone. it's not just the u.s. catastrophic wildfires raged across southeast australia this week fueled by triple-digit heat that forced the government to add a new color to its maps purple, indicating up to 122 degrees. back in this country the city of chicago normally snow covered in january today tied the record for the most days without at least one inch of snow, 319. now the reason this record of 2012 is significant is because what it signals for our future. federal scientists say we can expect warmer years to become
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more frequent with more and bigger intense heat waves and perhaps more drought, brian. >> about the last thing we needed to hear but it's news because of that. anne thompson, thank you as always. now we turn to gun control and our post newtown era. the white house is gearing up for a fight on this issue, announcing today they will meet with representatives of the nra later this week. nba's ron mott covering this story for us. >> reporter: two years ago today 9-year-old christina-taylor green was the youngest shot in a grocery store. in a new campaign her mother is pleading for stricter gun laws. >> i have one question for our leaders, when will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? >> reporter: her questions are part of a growing chorus around the country for gun prevention. today, calls for action were joined by a new voice, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords
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who was shot in the head in the arizona spree, launching an effort to curb gun violence. >> gabby and i are both gun owners. we are strong supporters of the second amendment but we've got to do something from getting the guns into the wrong hands. >> reporter: it's a sentiment that seems to be spreading. a gallup poll taken after newtown says 58% are tougher on gun sales. up 15 points from 2011 and nearly 2/3, 62% say it's time to ban high capacity ammunition magazines, the kinds often used in mass killings. all of this talk of gun restrictions meant banged up business at second amendment sports in tucson. >> because of the word banned on the political side we're seeing more of that fear purchasing. >> reporter: andy stopped in to buy his wife a handgun. >> people are going to be passionate about their weapons and the second amendment. >> reporter: the white house is preparing its strategy to
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address gun violence which is expected to include a push for background checks on almost all gun purchases, reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and stronger penalties for gun traffickers. among the groups invited to meet, the national rifle association. >> you want one more law on top of 20,000 laws, when most of the federal gun laws we don't even enforce. >> we have to just keep the talk going. >> reporter: sarah brady, who led the fight for handgun control after the 1981 assassination attempt against president reagan left her husband paralyzed hope this amounts to more than just talk. >> we cannot have a long conversation about this. we've got to have action and we've got to have action quickly or it will fade. >> nbc news learned family members and victims of the newtown, connecticut, tragedy, will soon announce they, too, have formed a new organization, brian, they want to be part of this ongoing dialogue. >> this issue is still top of mind. ron mott with us in the studio, thanks. in colorado a harrowing day
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at the pretrial hearing in the case of another accused mass shooter, james holmes, charged with killing 12 people, injuring 58 others in the july shooting rampage at the aurora, colorado, movie theater. prosecutors played 911 tapes, one of which included anguished cries for help from a 13-year-old with two cousins inside, including a 6-year-old, both gravely wounded. in another call you could hear 30 shots ring out in the background over the course of a telephone call to 911 that lasted 27 seconds before the caller's voice was drowned out. there is news tonight about that attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that killed four americans. the only suspect in that attack has been set free in tunisia. his attorney says the judge let him go due to a lack of evidence. we also learned secretary of state hillary clinton pictured at the white house today and back on the job this week will testify later this month about the benghazi attack. senator bob corker tells our own andrea mitchell mrs. clinton is likely to testify the morning of january 22nd.
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now to aviation for the second night in a row there's trouble to report with one of boeing's new 787 dreamliners. the aircraft a whole lot of people had hailed as the future of american aviation, yesterday it was a fire, today a mishap moments before takeoff, for a planeload of passengers. tom costello covers aviation for us, he's with us from san diego tonight. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. this actually occurred in boston today, japan airlines 787, japan airlines yesterday as well, but today they were just about to depart fully loaded with passengers when they developed some sort of a fuel leak and they lost 40 gallons right there on the ramp. they went back to the gate, fixed the problem, the plane did, in fact, leave for tokyo but we can tell you that this follows yesterday's incident also involving a japan airlines 787, that was a belly, the fire in the belly of the plane, i should say. investigators now think that's tied to an auxiliary power unit, a battery pack and there have been other emergency landings
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and problems with electrical systems over the last few months or so. united airlines has ordered inspections of all of its 787s. most aviation experts believe that these are problems with a high-tech plane but they could also start to undermine confidence in the 787. brian? >> tom costello on the latest problem from san diego tonight, tom, thanks. now to an unwelcome surprise for millions of americans this new year, health insurance premiums that are causing sticker shock, double-digit increases in some places, suddenly a whole lot of families are watching this happen in the era of the so-called affordable care act, better known as obama care. we get an explanation here tonight from nbc's lisa myers. >> reporter: as a pediatrician, dr. jan mayzell knows all about rising medical costs but she was stunned to discover the cost of her own health insurance is going up a whopping 25% this year.
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>> i'm impacting my ability to retire because i'm depleting my savings to keep this health insurance. >> reporter: some insurance companies in california including anthem blue cross, aetna and blue shield of california are proposing rate increases of 20% or more for some individual customers. today the california insurance commissioner deemed one proposed group increase unreasonable and accused companies are trying to maximize profits. >> it's a disaster. it explains why we have 6 million to 7 million californians who simply can't afford health insurance and it's not going to get any better. >> reporter: and it's not just california. in florida and ohio, insurers have instituted double-digit rate increases. new york, which unlike california has power to roll back rates has generally held increases below 10%. overall medical costs are projected to rise only 7.5% this year, so some experts are puzzled by the double-digit premium increases, and question
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whether it has something to do with the obama care law, which will bring big changes next year. >> they know they're going to have a lot of changes and lose some business and get new business anyway. it may be that this is the best strategy for them to maximize profits for this year. >> reporter: the insurance companies insist they are not profiteering and say higher premiums are the result of simple math and a few early costs of obama care. >> premiums are going up because costs are going up. two, because of the population that's being served, is it older and sicker versus younger and healthy, and three, the new requirements with respect to regulatory issues as well as benefit, new benefits requirements. >> reporter: and they warn that with added requirements and taxes under the new health care law, some consumers can expect significant increases again next year. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. still ahead, as we continue on a tuesday night, the news tonight about alcohol, women, and the increasing health risks they face. and later, why some serious
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people are saying if the government only minted a $1 trillion coin, it could actually save us from economic disaster.
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back now a disturbing new look at at growing problem of binge drinking in our country today. the centers for disease control warn excessive drinking is a problem especially for women in the united states and results in the death of some 23,000 women and girls every year. our report from rehema ellis. >> reporter: in movies, tv and music, it's art imitating life. >> you smell like booze. >> reporter: according to a new report by the cdc, younger women aren't just drinking in large numbers, the drinking is becoming potentially dangerous, and is often overlooked as a health problem for women who respond to alcohol differently than men. >> some of these differences include females being more
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susceptible to the effect of alcohol on risk of cancer, the effects of alcohol on the liver, females are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol on the brain in terms of brain damage. >> reporter: binge drinking is defined as at least four drinks at one occasion, something young women say they see all the time. >> women may be like to let loose and have fun. >> they want to go and drink and relax. >> reporter: in a survey of 278,000 women 18 and older nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, that's one in eight women. among 7,500 high school girls the report finds one in five report binge drinking. who is most likely to binge drink? white and hispanic women between 18 and 34 years old, and those with household incomes of $75,000 or more. why is it happening? experts say it could be pressure. >> one of the things that we might be seeing is a coping mechanism in binge drinking, and
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alcohol is being something to be stress relief. >> reporter: experts say more education is needed to help young women make wise choices about whether they should drink alcohol and how much. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. and we're back in a moment with the night the luck o' the irish ran out. ♪
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chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save. we learned overnight one of the great nonfiction writers of our times, richard ben cramer, has died. if you were a young journalist in this country wanting to know how best to cover politics, campaigns and politicians, richard cramer's book "what it takes" it all it took. it chronicled the 1988 campaign as it focused on bush 41, on bush 41, dukakis,
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biden and all the educated at johns hopkins and columbia. richard ben cramer died of lung cancer at the age of 62. well, you know how they say roll tide. the tide certainly rolled right over notre dame last night as alabama owned the bcs college championship game. from the get-go there were sad irish eyes all over this today. a 42-14 thumping for the crimson tide of alabama. their third national championship in four years. when we come back here tonight, the new push to settle the next big fight in congress. why some are saying we should really just make a very valuable coin.
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finally here tonight, so we survived the fiscal cliff after all. the next dire circumstance you're going to hear us talking about around here is the debt ceiling, which, make no mistake, has the capacity to crash the u.s. economy. so wouldn't it be just like the current thinking in washington and the cast of characters there if they could mint a coin they could spend that could solve the problem. believe it or not, some serious
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people are asking, why not? our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> one fight down is another taken up. >> reporter: deadlock in washington? again? >> take all the fights we had, and put them all in one fight. >> some are even threatening another government shutdown. >> reporter: how to solve it. ♪ what if we simply minted a platinum trillion-dollar coin? not entirely new, the trillion-dollar bill was introduced on "the simpsons." >> ooh, a trillion-dollar bill, that's a spicy meatball. >> reporter: still it is an idea getting a lot of currency online. petition with more than 6,000 signatures and nobel prize winning economist paul krugman says the president should be ready to mint that coin. in theory the treasury would mint the trillion-dollar coin and then walk it over to the federal reserve for deposit, so the government can pay its bills. oops.
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is it legal? technically the treasury doesn't need the permission of congress to mint platinum coins, but does it make economic sense? >> this whole coin business doesn't deal with the debt and deficit issue and it does not make it go away. >> my name is david greenstein and i'm a professional numismatist. >> easy for you to say. >> reporter: we visited a coin dealer to figure out how big it would need to be. >> solid platinum 747 aircraft to have $1 trillion worth of platinum. >> reporter: some suggest it's a political ploy. >> we should have known a coin was obama's solution to everything. it was right there in his slogan, "change." >> reporter: the next big political battle will most certainly be whose face gets to be on it. obama? boehner? or maybe bieber. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. that is our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with
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us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com right now at 6:00, who is the man behind the barge? new details about the tanker crash at the bay bridge and the pil pilot's checkered history. >> reporter: and in san jose we may soon see more curbside dining outside. i'll tell you why it may cost the city nothing. surgery suspended the problem left in the east bay hospital scrambling this afternoon. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. it could have been disastrous. everyone is having trouble understanding how it exactly happened. tonight federal investigators are joining the probe into what's being now called a major
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incident. an oil tanker hitting the bay bridge for the first time -- excuse me, for the second time in five years. we have live team coverage tonight. bay area's arturo santiago will take a look at why the tanker was allowed to go underneath the bridge when the visibility was so poor. the latest on the investigation from treasure island. jodi? >> reporter: the coast guard says it wrapped up its first interview of the pilot today. we understand he is an expert at navigating ships through the nuances of the bay. he has done it hundreds and hundreds of times before. now he's in the hot seat as investigators try to figure out what went wrong. a ship hitting the bay bridge, that's a big deal. we love the bay and we want to see it protected. >> reporter: that's why investigator are so intent on finding out what caused the 752-foot oil tanker to side twip a tower of the bay bridge, a major

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NBC Nightly News
NBC January 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 6, California 5, Cdc 3, New York 3, Chicago 3, U.s. 3, Washington 3, Ron Mott 2, Dr. Nancy Snyderman 2, Anne Thompson 2, Obama 2, Richard Ben Cramer 2, Nbc 2, Tom Costello 2, Benghazi 2, Colorado 2, Alabama 2, Lisa Myers 2, Pennsylvania 2, San Diego 2
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